Comprehensive assessment of sensitizing events and anti-HLA antibody development in women awaiting kidney transplantation

Antonietta Picascia, Vincenzo Grimaldi, Chiara Sabia, Claudio Napoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Alloimmunization remains a critical factor which affects the success of kidney transplantation. Patients awaiting solid organ transplantation may develop anti-HLA antibodies after pregnancies, transfusions and previous events of transplantations. Aim: We evaluated the effects of different sensitizing events on the anti-HLA antibody production and the potential role of patient HLA alleles in the context of antibody development in both the overall and pregnancy sensitized groups. Material and methods: We retrospectively stratified 411 women on waiting list for kidney transplantation by route of sensitization. The presence of anti-HLA antibodies was evaluated by Solid Phase Assay and HLA typing was performed by serological and molecular methods. Results: In our study population, 54% of women had anti-HLA antibodies. We found that the 51.6% of women with pregnancy only, 44% of women with transfusion only and 100% of women with a history of transplantation only developed anti-HLA antibodies. Pregnancy only resulted significantly associated with all anti-HLA antibody development such as anti-A, -B, -C, -DR, -DP as well as anti-DQB and -DQA antibodies. We investigated the influence of patient HLA alleles on the antibody development in the overall study population. Patients expressing HLA A*32 (p = 0.024, OR = 0.42), B*14 (p = 0.035, OR = 0.44), HLA-B*44 (p = 0.026, OR = 0.51) and DRB1*01 (p = 0.029, OR = 0.55) alleles produced anti-HLA antibodies less frequently compared to subjects with other alleles. In the pregnancy only group, B*14 (p = 0.010, OR = 0.12) and B*51 (p = 0.005, OR = 0.24) alleles were associated with a low risk of anti-HLA antibody development, while A*11 (p = 0.033, OR = 3.56) and DRB1*04 (p = 0.022, OR = 3.03) alleles seem to represent a higher risk. Conclusions: Pregnancy still remains a strong sensitizing event in women awaiting kidney transplantation. The anti-HLA antibody development in pregnancy appears to be associated with the expression of particular HLA alleles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalTransplant Immunology
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Anti-HLA antibodies
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitizing events
  • Transfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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